A Sharp Contrast

The contrast between the two candidates running for the Presidency of the United States could not be more stark. They have their commonalities. Both men are Harvard educated. Aside from the usual human bodily functions, eating, drinking and sleeping, there is a lot of air between these two men.

I both detest Mitt Romney for his actions and despise him for his character. There was a time when you could respect both candidates running for the Presidency. I am not too sure when that changed. While I vehemently disagreed with George H.W. Bush, I had a grudging respect for him. Bill Clinton did an enormous amount for this country, including adding over twenty millions jobs and presiding over the biggest expansion in the economy in decades. Even John McCain, despite his tack to the right over the past few years was a man who could garner at least some respect. Even the darling of the Right, Ronald Reagan was at least tolerable. He worked across the aisle, working with Democrats on many pieces of legislation.

The Presidency of George Bush was an unmitigated disaster in ways too numerous to mention. Two disastrous, unpaid for wars, a prescription addition to Medicare, also unpaid for, a ballooning deficit. In addition, he left an economy in a shambles, the worst recession in sixty years, legitimized torture, and a world that eyed the United States with suspicion. He managed to hand so much to the wealthy that their wealth has continued to grow immeasurably, while the people on the ground battle every day. The secrecy of his Presidency was something this country has probably never seen before, spying on his own people, and treating them as criminals and terrorists.

Now we stand on the threshold of another election, and another Presidency. The odds, while still marginally in President Obama’s favor, are teetering on the edge. This is an abyss into which we cannot afford to tumble. The prospect of a Romney Presidency fills me with dread, for the Middle Class and poor, the sick, the young, the uneducated, for our rivers and streams, our air, our technological prowess.

For this papier-mâché person to take the reins of power and be responsible for the fate of the Free World presents a chilling indictment of our liberal democracy. Romney is a fake, a fraud, a cardboard cutout that is never believable. His treatment of his family pet, tying the dog to the roof,  was an abhorrent act unbecoming of anyone, and more so from a presidential candidate. His actions towards a school colleague, chasing him down and cutting his hair off was an action characteristic of a bully, again someone lacking the attributes and disposition of a President.

Consider some of the positions of the two candidates. On education, Romney has this to say, “we are finally going to fix our schools”. Precisely how does he aim to do that? He has no answer. What we do know from following conservative thought on education is that they do not want the public school system. They want to replace the system with charter schools. Just as with their Medicare plan, they want each child to receive a voucher that they can use to buy the education that they need. Other than that, they will be on their own to find adequate schooling, a task that should not be left to children and their parents.

The system of public education that has done so much to elevate the Middle Class will vanish and be absorbed into private schooling. The vouchers will not go far towards covering a comprehensive education. Not only that, but charter schools are often religious schools, with a religious agenda that will hinder those students that do not adhere to that particular faith, in this case, probably either Protestant or Catholic.

To fill in the gaps, conservatives want people to home school their children, a herculean task for most people who just do not have the educational background, the skills necessary, the time, or the financial and physical resources. In addition, Romney wants to gut the Department of Education. His plan will fail our youth, our nation, and hand technological supremacy to the Chinese and Indians.

The President, however has a plan. He wants to hire 100,000 new math and science teachers. He wants to retrain workers at community colleges, more than two million to give them the skills necessary to tackle the important technological advancements sweeping society. He wants to encourage colleges to cut the cost of education, which have become far more than people can manage. He wants to improve failing schools, and do whatever he can to help children get a leg up in a tough world economy. His plan cares about children. Romney has no plan aside from “fixing” the schools and gutting the Department of Education.

Romney has said nothing about how he is going to improve the economy. He makes much of his tax cut plan, and adding to the military budget, but he has said nothing about how he is going to improve the economy. He claims that he will create 12 million jobs, but these are jobs that the economy will create as it is today.  He claims that he will create three million jobs in the energy sector. There are not that many jobs in that sector, even if we put down wells in every state and use fracking on all the shale in the nation. Romney says nothing substantive about infrastructure, bridges, roads, the electrical grid, space exploration, conservation of our natural resources, alternative energy, transportation and a host of other issues that are in urgent need of attention.

President Obama, however, takes every opportunity to highlight what he wants to do in all these areas, what he did with the auto industry to make sure that jobs stay here in the United States. He talks incessantly about bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States, educating workers to take these positions, giving tax cuts to companies that being jobs back to the United States.

The President talks about his plans all the time, at rallies, on late night TV, comedy shows, and news shows, telling the voters what he is going to do and how he is doing to do it. Mitt Romney, on the other hand makes wild promises, uses vacuous rhetoric that mostly amounts to hot air and not substantive discourse. As the race draws to a close Romney ignores the press, refuses requests for interviews from a whole range of people, from the more serious Brian Williams, to the youth oriented MTV, the Jay Leno show and the Comedian Jon Stewart. Obama is engaged and engaging where Romney is secretive and elusive.

The campaign thus far has shown how the two candidates would run their respective administrations. Obama is open, talkative, and relates to the average person. he wants the best for all the people, all the time. Romney is closeted, secretive, and would spend his time in his office communicating with his corporate cabal, finding ways to take away, to eliminate, to fire his citizens, to turn them out of their jobs and their schools, off public transport, and into the street. Mitt Romney is a man who cannot be trusted with the Presidency, and I hope that the electorate sends him that message.

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